Friday , October 30 2020

Amazon's shareholders refuse to ban face recognition, Congress is concerned about the impact on civil rights

Amazon should continue to market its face recognition technology, because nothing is forbidden for the time being, at least not the shareholders vote held on Wednesday, at the annual meeting of the e-commerce glove. Amazon said that its shareholders had rejected two proposals that would have asked the company not to sell its face recognition technology to government customers, according to Reuters. However, Amazon did not release the shareholders' vote totals on Wednesday, but said the information would be filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission later in the week.

Indeed, before the Amazon shareholders' meeting, two non-binding proposals on face recognition were voted on Tuesday, supported by the civil liberties groups. One of the proposals would have banned Amazon from continuing to sell Rekognition, its face recognition system, to governments unless its board of directors decided that sales did not breach civil liberties. A second decision would have required an independent review of civil rights over the use of technology.

According to Reuters, the ACLU had written to investors in Amazon before the Wednesday meeting. The civil rights group said, in order to urge voters to vote for the decisions, in his letter that selling Amazon's face recognition technology to the government's agencies was changing the balance of power between the government and the basic government. individuals, giving governments an unprecedented power to monitor, control and harm people. But despite the support of the ACLU, the decisions were unsuccessful on Wednesday, according to an Amazon spokesman.

However, the failure of the proposals is not a great surprise. Indeed, the e-commerce had tried, well before the annual meeting, to bring the votes to a close, but the Securities and Exchange Commission refused this decision, according to Reuters. Secondly, both ACLU supported face recognition proposals submitted for Wednesday poll were not compulsory. Even if they were not rejected by the votes, the company could still refuse the vote results. Also remember that Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, still retains 12% of the company's shares, as well as the voting rights in the rest of his ex-wife's participation. And the four largest shareholders in the company are each holding around the same number of voting rights as Bezos.

Amazon face recognition technology made headlines for a lot of last year. Generally, last year's taxes were recognition and facial recognition technologies with a high rate of false positives and Amazon was accused of selling its facial recognition technology to the US government which was abusing it. Libertarian organizations feared false games and arbitrary arrests, while technology supporters supported public safety.

Twenty corporate shareholders, in correspondence with Jeff Bezos on 15 June, asked Amazon to sell its AI face recognition to the police: We are concerned that surveillance infrastructure could be of such a nature. only to undermine consumer privacy, but also to present significant risks to our company by having a negative impact on its stock market value and by increasing financial leverage for shareholders, they wrote. Long before this action by Amazon shareholders, a letter from the ACLU where Amazon was read, when the surveillance business had already attracted 150,000 signatures.

Recall also that last October, an employee of Amazon had asked his head to give the best to sell the police's face recognition system. Long before, in July, Amazon's face recognition technology had wrongly identified that 28 members of the US Congress were criminals, according to the ACLU report.

Despite the numerous protests by Amazon workers, its shareholders and digital rights defense organizations, Amazon announced in November its intention to continue selling its easy recognition system Rekognition to enforce the law and security forces. to the US immigration control service.

A meeting of an important Congressional Committee was held at the same time as the Washington, DC annual meeting to discuss the impact on civil rights recognition of surface technologies in general. Jimmy Gomez's democratic representative, who attended the meeting, responded to the results of the Amazon vote saying: "Simply put, it means it is more important for Congress to act. Republican representatives also said that US citizens are getting the same." rape them and share their knowledge with people like the FBI without the supervision of the representatives.

These proposals followed accusations that Amazon's technology was biased and wrong, which critics say can be used to make racial discrimination against minorities. Indeed, recent research has shown that Amazon's technology is finding it difficult to identify people whose skin is darker. This made us fear that faulty technology will put innocent people behind the bars.

But, again, Amazon has defended its work and said that all consumers must comply with the law. It has also added a web portal so that people can report any abuse in the service.

According to Shankar Narayan of ACLU Washington, the stakeholder vote is a wake-up call to the company becoming aware of the real dangers that are inherent in its technology: t The fact that a vote on this subject is embarrassing to the Amazon management team. It shows that shareholders do not have confidence that corporate operators understand or go to grips with the impact of civil rights and human rights on their role as facilitators of penetrating government oversight. . Although we have not yet seen the exact distribution of the vote, this shareholder intervention should be a warning sign for the company to become aware of the real dangers of surface surveillance and course change, he added.

The ACLU said that investors and shareholders had the power to defend Amazon against its own view. But what is the right of the other shareholders to vote with the company's chief executive, founder and shareholder?

Amazon spokesman Lauren Lynch said on Tuesday before the meeting that the company operated in accordance with our code of conduct, which managed how we managed our business and the use of it; n product. Not to say that every company should use facial recognition in its own interests to make money, while the IA is confusing to good people with the fraudsters on the roads. Last December, Google announced that it was temporarily surrendering its AI, the time to settle some important issues and San Francisco, on Tuesday, May 14, became the first city in the United States to ban the use of face recognition for reasons in connection with human rights.

In the face of the shareholders who claimed last June that Rekognition had been marketed to enforce the law, Amazon had said that there had been no reports so far of Rekognition abuse by the police.

Because of some companies and their technology, spontaneous applications of artificial intelligence have changed the good practice and technology. How can we understand that so many attempts have been made and continue to be devoted to developing technology that opposes all the most common beliefs and values.

Source: Reuters

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